Slow the World Down

By Asst. Pastor Micah McCurry

Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
— Exodus 3:1-3

As a driver, I find traffic jams very annoying. Though they irritate me, I understand traffic jams caused by accidents.  Some of them take forever, and finally at the end as you pass the scene of the accident you realize that the accident that everyone slowed down for was on the other side of the median. There was no need for anyone on your side of the highway to take their foot off of the gas. Yet everyone has to slow down just to take a peek.

How irritating is that? Everyone hits the brakes just because they are curious. Something out of the ordinary gets everyone's attention and everyone's progress is slowed down. What if we flip that illustration on its head? What if our goal as Christians is to slow the world down? Instead of being a hot mess or a dumpster fire, what if we were a bright beacon of hope in a broken world? A beacon that causes people to slow down and take notice of what God is doing in our lives.

The world is running by at break neck speed. Our culture is running towards Hell as fast as possible. We will never stop it. But we might be able to slow someone down. We may be able to convince someone to come by and take a look.

Moses turned aside because he saw something interesting, something that caught his eye, something that he had never seen before. So how can we slow the world down? How can we be something they have never seen before?

Get on Fire

Catch on fire and others will love to come watch you burn
— John Wesley

We have enough soft soap Christians. We need some firebrands. We need to relight the flame that burst into revival in America and our world in times past. In an age of political correctness and weak preaching an on fire Christian would be an oddity. It would attract attention. It would be a great sight.

Some would argue that fire is too harsh. It will drive people away. What they say is true. Fire always drives the wolves away when wielded by a man or woman who wants to protect what he or she holds dear. Fire will help keep the mosquitoes off as well. There will always be those who cannot handle the piercing brightness of fire but dimming the light to appease those who want to inundate themselves where they do not belong does no one good.

My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
— Psalms 39:3

You will notice as you read your Bible that God uses fire all the time. An angel with a flaming sword guarded the Garden of Eden. He used a pillar of fire to lead the children of Israel out of bondage. A proper sacrifice on the altar in Old Testament times was burnt with fire. The devil and Hell have no corner on the market of fire. Our world needs Christians who aren't afraid to get on fire.

Don't Burn Up and Don't Burn Out

But he (Elijah) himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
— 1 Kings 19:4

The world is full of people who couldn't make it. The Bible is full of people who wanted to quit and tried to quit. The thing that really grabbed Moses' attention about the bush was not that it was burning, but that it was burning but not burning up. 

Check out the average lifespan of rock stars. Look at all of the men and women who shined so brightly but burned up so quickly. We do not need shooting stars in the ministry. We need a force like the moon, just consistently there. Exerting pressure and causing tides to shift for a lifetime of ministry.

The difference between those who burn out and those who do not is simple. When you are burning God's fuel you can last forever. We often try to do it all ourselves though. We try to survive on charisma and talent instead of relying on Him. Want to get the world's attention? Don't burn out. 

Just Burn Where God Put You

I can imagine if I were that bush that God had lit on fire. I would ask stupid questions like "Why am I on the backside of the desert? Why can't my ministry be on a main road or something? I could have a bigger impact if I were on the main Canaan-Egypt highway. And why am I just a bush? Why couldn't I be a huge tree or even better a huge forest fire that everyone could see?"

The answer of course is that God had the bush exactly where He wanted it for the effect that He wanted it to have. If God has lit you on fire and you seem to be in an out of the way place and no one seems to notice you or your meager flame, God has you exactly where He wants you for the effect that He wants you to have.

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
— Mark 12:42-44

I wonder if there would be more Moseses, more Spurgeons, more Moodys if more people would just burn where God put them. Maybe God has a Moses that he wants to bring your way. No one else is going to see what you are doing there on the backside of nowhere, but this Moses will. But if you do not burn where God put you then that Moses will miss out on the message He has for him.

Maybe you are unhappy with the simple burning bush ministry that God has given you. Remember the great respect that Jesus had for the widow woman who simply used what she was given and gave it all. Don't begrudge others their towering bonfire or shiny flame throwers. Just burn where and how God wants you to.

Don't Play With Strange Fire

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
— Leviticus 10:1-2

Lastly, you don't need the fire that the world wants you to use to get the world's attention. You will notice in Exodus 3:3 that Moses turned aside to see a great sight. A lesson that Christians need to learn is that we will never compete with the spectacle that the world can put on. You will never see something approaching an Olympic Opening Ceremony at a Bible believing church near you. That is not to say that we should not be first class or try our best, but attempting to do lighting, multimedia, music, or anything else in such a way that we will attract people away from the world is foolishness. Let the world be the world and the church be the church. We are supposed to operate with the Power of God and the world will never compete with that. 

Trying to get the world's attention? Trying to make them slow down and take notice of what is going on at your church? Don't try to outdo the world to win the world. Just burn brightly with a flame that only God can give. Not sure if you have ever had that flame before? Unsure of what all of this means? Maybe you should take a few minutes and check out our page on How To Get To Heaven.

At the First Baptist Church of Kenmore we are excited about the light God has given us to shine into Kenmore, Akron, Ohio, and beyond! Come join us for a service if you live in the area. If not, check back soon for more posts on our Staff Blog. Thanks for reading!